West Ham United halted their run of four straight Premier League defeats with a draw against Middlesborough last weekend.
The point at home will be seen by most Hammers fans as underachievement but it is at least something to build on for a beleaguered Slaven Bilic.
The Croat’s squad has endured an early season injury crisis and some shocking form of late.
Off-the-pitch problems, associated with the move to the London Stadium, have not helped but performances and notably some terrible defending have left West Ham with work to do.
Here are three members of Bilic’s squad who have let him down so far this term.
It perhaps says it all that Winston Reid’s most notable moment so this season was taking an elbow to the throat from Sergio Aguero.
Last year the no-nonsense enforcer’s form was the foundation for West Ham’s robust defence and led to rumoured interest from Manchester United and Chelsea in his services.
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) October 3, 2016
It has been a lot different this time around. The New Zealander can hardly be held responsible for West Ham’s problems further up the field but a noticeable drop in his performance level has contributed to one of last season’s better defences going to pieces.
Reid is one of the Premier League’s most impressive centre-backs on his day but those days have recently been replaced by disasters like shipping four goals at home to Watford.
The Spanish stopper was crucial for his side last term with consistently impressive displays topped off with several saved penalties.
In the Premier League this year, only two keepers have made more saves than Adrian (25 saves) but shot stopping has never been an issue for the agile 29-year-old.
Prem: Adrian save — West Ham (52'): English Premier League: Adrian (52') West Ham 0-1 Southampton https://t.co/N0zNX70VKc
— ESPN SYNC (@ESPNSYNC) September 25, 2016
It’s the other aspects of his game which have played their part in a leaky defence that will have Bilic scratching his head.
The former Real Betis keeper has looked shaky on crosses and at times failed to communicate effectively with his centre-backs. A crisis of confidence between him, Reid and James Collins needs addressed quickly for the Irons to get back on track.
Kouyate was virtually ever-present in the midfield last season as West Ham over-achieved.
The Senegalese is also the only outfield man to play every minute of the current campaign.
— Ian Rhodes (@ianrhodes18) September 25, 2016
This indicates his importance to the side under Bilic and how much the manager trusts him. It also though, means he has plenty to answer for.
The towering Dakar-born man should provide an intimidating presence in the centre of the park but his team have already capitulated on more than one occasion.
Kouyate could point to the injuries that have ravaged the side around him but instead the 26-year-old should roll up his sleeves and seize control of matches like he did last term. His failure to do so thus far is doubtless part of the problem.